Last year I ordered myself a nice little birthday gift from Amazon:  a Bodum ‘Santos’ Siphon Coffee Maker (Formerly called the ‘Pebo’.)

I couldn’t wait until it arrived a few days later.  Putting it together for the first time was quite magical.  I felt like a kid at Christmas when I opened it. (Read about it HERE.) The coffee it made was *amazing!*

But after a few days, I had my first “bad pot”.  The water boiled into the top, steeped in the coffee grounds and then sat there…forever.  I waited patiently, but it never came back down to the lower portion of the pot.  The coffee was ruined.

I scoured the internet for a solution.  I found several YouTube instructional videos and watched them all to make sure that my method was correct.  As far as I could tell, I was doing it perfectly.  But from that day on, about 50% of my attempts FAILED.

I tried:

  • Boiling the water VERY hot
  • Changing the grind size (repeatedly)
  • Cooling the bottom chamber quicker with the help of ice cubes
  • Stirring the coffee during the entire process, to try and keep the filter clean
  • Looking for 3rd party filters

One time the new ‘trick’ would work.  The next time it wouldn’t.  THEN I came across some information that has really helped my success rate.  Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your siphon pot is clean.  Especially the rubber that seals the top section to the bottom section.
  2. Pre-grind your favourite coffee.  It should be pretty big, but not HUGE.  Set it aside for now.
  3. Preheat your water with a kettle.  (Not necessary, but it’s faster!)
  4. Pour the water into the lower chamber.
  5. [NEW] If you’re using a cloth filter, soak it in in warm water for a few minutes.
  6. Assemble the Siphon by installing the top portion.  Twist the top as you put it in, to make sure you have a good seal.  Water may immediately begin to climb to the top portion, but probably not very much.  If it doesn’t, don’t worry.
  7. Place the pot over your heat source and place it on a LOW setting.  You want to get the pot *just* hot enough so that the water will slowly climb up to the top.  Be patient!
  8. When all of the water is in the top, add your coffee and begin your timer.  (I like 2 minutes+, but it’s a personal choice.)  Experiment!
  9. Gently stir the coffee.
  10. After 30 seconds, stir the coffee again.
  11. Reduce heat a little.
  12. When the timer’s alarm sounds, take the siphon off the heat to a cool (not cold) surface.
  13. Wait patiently as the coffee comes down.  Use this time to pre-heat your coffee mug.  (I use the leftover water from the kettle.)
  14. You’ll see a few bubbles in the lower pot as the last of the coffee draws a bit air down.  This tells you that you can now remove the top section and pour yourself a cup.  BE CAREFUL – It’s still too hot to drink.  Let it sit for several minutes.
  15. ENJOY!!

The whole idea is to heat it up and let it cool gently and slowly.  If the water is boiling like crazy in the top section, just wait. Let it cool down so that it’s barely hot enough to stay in the top.  Then add the coffee.  Otherwise you won’t have enough vaccum stored in the lower part to suck the coffee back down.

And there you have it!!

Please let me know if this worked for you.  And share any tips YOU have in the comments below!


UPDATE, Aug 2014:  I’ve just found a cloth filter made by Hario that fits as a replacement to the original (problem) filter.  The above method does work, but this is another option and they’re quite cheap.  Unlike the original though, you’ll need to replace it from time to time.

You can find links to the filter kit and replacement filters here:


Hario Siphon Coffee F-103S Full Filter Part Assembly Moca Technica For TCA-2 TCA-3 TCA-5 MCA-3 MCA-5

Pack of 10 CLOTH FILTERs for Hario Syphon Coffee TCA-2 TCA-3 TCA-5 MCA-5 Siphon

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